Despite a monster Week 9, T.Y. Hilton will have a tougher time in Week 10
Thankfully this week, fantasy owners have to only worry about four teams being on bye. However, the Philadelphia Eagles, Oakland Raiders, Kansas City Chiefs and Baltimore Ravens have a lot of fantasy-relevant players, so lineup decisions may be tough.
It's nearing the end of the regular season for fantasy owners, which means the playoff push is on. Choosing starters for fantasy lineups is always a gamble, but some players are poised to have better weeks than their ranks indicate (and vice versa). This column is here to help fantasy owners with that.
At the end of the column is the full disclosure, listing how well last week's picks performed. Please note that 5 Up/5 Down is a guide on players that should exceed or fall below their rank this week. This is based on past performance, injury status and matchup. This is not a start/sit column, but rather a guide.
Teams on bye: Baltimore, Kansas City, Oakland, Philadelphia
Tyrod Taylor, QB, Buffalo Bills
In Week 9, Taylor threw the ball 40 times, the most he's thrown it all season. What's more impressive is that he truly had no one to throw it to. Yet, he managed 285 yards, two touchdown passes and one rushing touchdown. His rushing yards are what boosts his fantasy value each week. He's ranked No. 10 against a tough New Orleans defense. However, adding Kelvin Benjamin and getting Charles Clay back from injury will boost his value.
Orleans Darkwa, RB, New York Giants
While it does seem that the New York Giants have no interest in winning another game, they face the winless San Francisco 49ers in Week 10. The 49ers give up the most fantasy points to opposing running backs out of all teams in the league. It does seem that the Giants are trusting Darkwa as their No. 1 back, and he's ranked No. 16 this week. That puts him squarely in RB2 territory and that's about right. However, the matchup is so great he's in the 5 Up section for Week 10.
Rex Burkhead, RB, New England Patriots
In PPR formats, Burkhead should exceed his No. 44 ranking. It appears that Chris Hogan will be out for Week 10 with a shoulder injury, and while some of those targets will go to Phillip Dorsett, Burkhead also will be an option in the passing game. In Week 8, before the bye, Burkhead had seven targets for 68 yards. Fantasy owners should expect a similar stat line in Week 10.
Terrance Williams, WR, Dallas Cowboys
Even though Dez Bryant has not practiced this week, he claims he will play in Week 10. However, he's playing through multiple injuries and is far from 100 percent. Last week, Williams stepped up and caught all nine of his targets for 141 yards. He has yet to find the end zone this year. The Cowboys face the Falcons in Week 10, who allow the ninth-fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers. If Bryant ends up sitting, Williams is a solid WR2. Even if Bryant is active, Williams should exceed his No. 47 ranking.
Eric Ebron, TE, Detroit Lions
This is just based on the matchup. Ebron hasn't been fantasy relevant for much of the 2017 season. He has one game with more than three receptions (Week 2, when he had five receptions for 42 yards and a touchdown). However, the Lions face the Cleveland Browns in Week 10. The Browns have struggled all year against opposing tight ends. They allow the second-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends and the fourth-most touchdowns. Ebron is a streaming option only for Week 10, ranked No. 14 but with the potential to finish higher.
Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints
No one is going to bench Brees unless they have an absolutely better option. However, for daily purposes, Brees should be avoided. He's facing a Buffalo defense who has allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. Also, the game is at Buffalo. Brees is used to playing in a dome, and the current predicted high temperature in Buffalo on Sunday afternoon is 43 degrees. He's ranked No. 6 but will likely finish below that.
Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams
There's no question about it: Gurley is a RB1 and a starter each week. However, he is not likely to finish Week 10 as the No. 2 overall running back. He faces the Houston Texans, who allow the fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs. Gurley has been great all year, but when he's had some tough matchups, he has struggled a bit. Elite running backs (Leonard Fournette and Kareem Hunt) have found success on the ground against Houston, so Gurley should be in lineups. However, for daily purposes, avoid Gurley this week.
C.J. Anderson, RB, Denver Broncos
Since the Broncos' Week 5 bye, Anderson has not seen more than 15 carries in a game. He hasn't been involved in the passing game, as he hasn't had more than one reception in a game. He has no touchdowns in that span and has one game with 78 yards, one game with 44 yards and two games with less than 20 yards. He's ranked No. 29, which is RB3 territory, but with Jamaal Charles and Devontae Booker also involved in the passing game, he's barely on the starting RB radar, despite a great matchup with New England in Week 10.
T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts
Fantasy owners expecting another 5/175/2 week are likely to be disappointed. Hilton is ranked No. 7 this week, but based on his performance, outside of Week 9, this ranking seems too high. He has three touchdowns on the season (two of which occurred last week). He has three 100-plus yard games and five games with less than 50 receiving yards. He has a tough matchup against the Steelers this week, who allow the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers. Hilton is a solid WR2, not the WR1 he's ranked as.
Jason Witten, TE, Dallas Cowboys
While Witten has three touchdowns so far this year, he also has three games with only one reception. It's hard to trust him from week to week. The Cowboys face the Falcons in Week 10, who allow the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends. They've only allowed one tight end touchdown so far this season, and odds are another isn't going to be in the hands of Witten. He's ranked No. 11 but that seems a bit high.
Full Disclosure, Week 9
Jameis Winston , QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Ranked: 14, Actual: 27)
Aaron Jones, RB, Green Bay Packers (Ranked: 10, Actual: not in top 50)
Adrian Peterson, RB, Arizona Cardinals (Ranked: 13, Actual: 8)
Devin Funchess, WR, Carolina Panthers (Ranked: 30, Actual: 24)
Vernon Davis, TE, Washington Redskins (Ranked: 11, Actual: 9)
Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers (Ranked: 10, Finished: 8)
C.J. Anderson, RB, Denver Broncos (Ranked: 19, Actual: not in top 50)
Alshon Jeffrey, WR, Philadelphia Eagles (Ranked: 19, Actual: 3)
Will Fuller, WR, Houston Texans (Ranked: 15, Actual: not in top 50)
Tyler Kroft, TE, Cincinnati Bengals (Ranked: 12, Actual: 7)
— Rankings by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. She also writes for SoCalledFantasyExperts.com among other sites. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.